Expedia CEO: People Traveling Like There’s No Tomorrow, Ignoring Climate Change Concerns

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People continue to travel with gusto despite growing concerns about climate change, according to Expedia CEO Peter Kern. In an interview with Fortune, Kern acknowledged that while people may express worry about the environmental impact of travel, their behavior suggests otherwise. Kern, who has led the online travel agency during the pandemic and subsequent surge in travel, believes that the desire to experience joy and be together outweighs concerns about the carbon footprint of travel. He observed that when given the option of purchasing a carbon offset with a plane ticket at a higher price, the majority of travelers opt for the cheaper ticket.

Despite rising airfares and hotel rates, Kern believes that leisure travel will not be limited to the wealthy. He asserts that there are options available at various price points, allowing travelers to find suitable accommodations within their budgets. Expedia’s platform offers the advantage of shopping for all travel needs in one place, comparing prices, and earning loyalty points. Kern argues that while dedicated airline loyalty members may have certain privileges, booking through Expedia provides convenience and the ability to manage cancellations and rebookings more effectively.

In terms of hotels, Kern believes that most people do not have absolute loyalty to a particular chain and instead choose accommodations based on personal preferences. Expedia aims to reward customers regardless of their hotel choice. Kern also discussed the recent overhaul of Expedia’s loyalty program, which now offers a dollar-value reward that can be used across various products, providing more benefits for a broader range of customers.

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Regarding the crackdown on Airbnb listings in cities such as New York, Kern predicts that it may result in a slight increase in hotel bookings but does not believe it will significantly curb travel to these destinations. He contends that as consumer behavior has not shown a material change in relation to climate concerns thus far, worries about travel’s impact on climate change have not affected travel habits. Kern suggests that a general societal change is needed to address this issue.

Kern also addressed the issue of overtourism in popular destinations like Venice and Amsterdam. He believes that as more people realize the downsides of crowded tourist hotspots, they will adapt and seek out new destinations. Expedia is exploring ways to help travelers discover less-frequented places and is using AI to enhance customer experience by providing additional information such as train ride durations and recommended hotels for easy access to mass transit.

When asked about his favorite travel destination, Kern mentioned Tuscany, Rome, and Florence in Italy. However, throughout the interview, he emphasized the enduring appeal and intrinsic human desire to travel and explore new experiences.

In conclusion, Kern’s observations and predictions suggest that despite concerns about climate change, people’s love for travel and the desire to create lasting memories continue to drive the travel industry. While efforts are being made to address sustainability concerns, Kern believes that a significant shift in societal attitudes is required to bring about substantial changes in travel behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What did Expedia CEO Peter Kern say about people's behavior regarding travel and climate change concerns?

Kern acknowledged that while people may express worry about the environmental impact of travel, their behavior suggests otherwise. He believes that the desire to experience joy and be together outweighs concerns about the carbon footprint of travel.

What did Kern observe about travelers' preference for purchasing carbon offsets with their plane tickets?

Kern observed that when given the option, the majority of travelers opt for the cheaper ticket without purchasing a carbon offset. Despite growing concerns about climate change, travelers prioritize cost over environmental impact.

Does Kern believe that travel will be limited to the wealthy due to rising airfares and hotel rates?

No, Kern believes that leisure travel will not be limited to the wealthy. He asserts that there are options available at various price points, allowing travelers to find suitable accommodations within their budgets.

What advantages does Expedia's platform offer for travelers?

Expedia's platform allows travelers to shop for all their travel needs in one place, compare prices, and earn loyalty points. Booking through Expedia provides convenience and the ability to manage cancellations and rebookings more effectively.

How does Expedia reward its customers in terms of hotel choice?

Kern believes that most people do not have absolute loyalty to a particular hotel chain, so Expedia aims to reward customers regardless of their choice of accommodations. They offer a dollar-value reward that can be used across various products, providing benefits for a broader range of customers.

How does Kern predict the crackdown on Airbnb listings in cities such as New York will affect travel?

Kern predicts that the crackdown may result in a slight increase in hotel bookings, but it will not significantly curb travel to these destinations. He claims that concerns about travel's impact on climate change have not affected travel habits thus far.

How does Kern believe people will adapt to the issue of overtourism in popular destinations?

Kern believes that as more people realize the downsides of crowded tourist hotspots like Venice and Amsterdam, they will adapt and seek out new destinations. Expedia is exploring ways to help travelers discover less-frequented places and is using AI to enhance customer experience.

What is Kern's favorite travel destination?

Kern mentioned Tuscany, Rome, and Florence in Italy as his favorite travel destinations.

What does Kern believe is needed to bring about substantial changes in travel behavior regarding climate concerns?

Kern believes that a significant shift in societal attitudes is required to address the concerns about travel's impact on climate change and bring about substantial changes in travel behavior.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

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